The Milk Diet

Chapter III- The Nutritional Substances in Whey

LACTOSE

Lactose, also called milk sugar, is the form in which sugar occurs in whey. In fact, lactose is the principal component of whey and is what gives it several of its fundamental properties. In 100 grams of liquid whey there are 4.7 grams of lactose.

As a disaccharide, composed of glucose and galactose, lactose is a sugar that the body finds easy to use; consequently, it is a good energy provider. However, this is only one of its many virtues. During the digestive process, lactose is not completely broken down in the stomach at the top of the digestive tract; it is still lactose when it enters the intestines. Far from being any kind of drawback, this is an advantage because the lactose will be transformed into lactic acid by the bacteria of the intestinal flora.

Lactic acid provides numerous benefits to the digestive system. It stimulates intestinal peristalsis—the contractions of the intestinal muscles that push the alimentary bolus (the mass of chewed food) from one end to the other of the long tube of the intestine—thereby guaranteeing a good evacuation of wastes and fecal matters out of the body.

Lactic acid acts as a gentle and physiologically appropriate laxative that counteracts intestinal stasis (or laziness) and constipation. The lactic acid that is produced from the lactose in whey also encourages the assimilation of calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium, by making these minerals soluble on the intestinal level. “Prepared” in this way by the action of the lactic acid, the minerals are much easier for the intestinal walls to absorb.

Once absorbed, they enter the bloodstream, which carries them into the cells where the body can put them to use. Another vital role played by lactose and lactic acid is the regulation of the intestinal flora, which is achieved by preventing the development of putrefactive bacteria. The intestine contains as many bacteria of fermentation as it does bacteria of putrefaction.

These two kinds of bacteria are antagonists, because they develop in environments governed by opposing conditions: the bacteria of fermentation in an acid environment, the bacteria of putrefaction in an alkaline environment.

Fermentation and putrefaction are a normal part of the digestive process. However, in certain conditions, one of these two kinds of bacteria will multiply to an excessive extent and the process governed by that bacteria (fermentation or putrefaction) will become pathological. This takes place when the environment at the end of the small intestine and the beginning of the colon is altered.

Here, the environment should be acidic to permit the bacteria of fermentation to perform their task of digesting the cellulose of whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. When a person’s diet includes only a small percentage of these foods, the environment will become alkaline instead, thereby encouraging the unbalanced development of putrefying bacteria. These bacteria will then attack the proteins that are passing through this area (from meats, cheeses, and so forth) and cause them to putrefy.

Because the intestinal flora is now imbalanced, these will no longer be the normal putrefactions of the digestive process, but pathological putrefactions that produce a large number of toxic substances, including hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, skatole, and indole. These toxins cause distension, flatulence, and irritation of the intestinal mucous membranes. The damage to the mucous membranes allows the toxins to enter the blood where they cause a latent state of self-poisoning (autointoxication).

The severity of gastrointestinal discomfort a person will experience is in direct proportion to the extent of the pathological putrefaction and the quantity of toxins that has resulted. Whey’s contribution of lactose is invaluable because it encourages the rebalancing of the intestinal flora. Lactose is the preferred food of fermenting bacteria; as the environment acidifies with the production of lactic acid, the development of putrefying bacteria is inhibited.

LACTIC

ACID In addition to the lactic acid that is formed from lactose by the action of the bacteria in the intestinal flora, whey already contains lactic acid that was produced by bacteria during the manufacturing of the cheese.

In 100 grams of fresh whey, there is approximately 0.5 gram of lactic acid. Studies have shown that there are two kinds of lactic acid: L+ lactic acid and D- lactic acid. Of these two, L+ is the most beneficial because the body possesses the enzyme that allows the system to make use of it.

The lactic acid produced from lactose in the intestines is this more useable form, L+, as is that generated by the muscles as they burn sugars (which in excess can cause muscle aches and stiffness). The body has greater difficulty using D- lactic acid. Because of its acidic nature and the fact that the body cannot break it down, too large a quantity of the D- type exposes the body to the danger of acidification.

The World Health Organization cautions against consuming more than 100 milligrams of D- lactic acid per 2.2 pounds (1 kilogram) of body weight a day. For a person weighing 150 pounds (60 kilos), this amounts to no more than 6000 milligrams, or 6 grams. Infants and children have a reduced capacity to neutralize D- lactic acids, so it is even more important that they heed these recommendations.

Now, the lactic acid found in fresh whey is entirely L+ lactic acid, the kind that is easily adaptable to human physiology. This is also true for whey in powder form. However, as mentioned earlier, whey is a food that is very hard to preserve.

With every passing hour it deteriorates and changes until it becomes undrinkable because the L+ lactic acids are gradually transformed into D- lactic acids. This is why, before the development of the powdered form, whey cures were generally taken in health spas where whey could be consumed immediately after it had been manufactured. The 6-gram daily limit of D- lactic acid can be found in 1.2 liters of old whey.

LIPIDS

Whey contains very little fat: 0.3 gram in 100 grams of liquid whey. This is a negligible quantity in principle; in practice, whey is considered to be fat free. This, among other reasons, makes it an ideal food for those dieting to lose weight. (This will be discussed further in the section on weight problems in chapter 5.)

CALORIC INTAKE

There are 26 calories per 100 grams of liquid whey. These calories are not from fats (whey has only a negligible quantity), but from lactose, which as previously mentioned is a sugar that the body can metabolize easily. Furthermore, the calories provided by whey are full calories rather than the empty calories found in white rice, white sugar, and white bread.

Whey calories are accompanied by a number of minerals and vitamins and are therefore much easier for the body to use.

PROTEINS

Whey has very little protein: 0.9 gram per 100 grams of liquid whey (less than 1 percent of its total weight). However, the value of a food’s protein contribution is not based only on the quantity of proteins it contains, but also on the body’s ability—or lack of ability—to make use of them.

All proteins are not alike; their characteristics depend on the elements of which they are constructed—in other words, the amino acids they contain. There are twenty different amino acids that enter into the composition of human proteins. Of these twenty, eight are defined as essential because without each of them, a human protein cannot be constructed. In other words, even if only one of the essential amino acids is missing and all the other amino acids are present in great number, protein construction is impossible.

One essential amino acid cannot be substituted for another and, given the fact that the human body is incapable of manufacturing essential amino acids on its own, it is imperative that they be brought into the body through food.

Whey is one of the foods capable of supplying the body with all eight of these essential amino acids. This is one of the reasons for the high biological value of its proteins. Another reason is the high utilization coefficient of the proteins contained in whey. The human body does not absorb food proteins as they are; it breaks them down in the digestive process into isolated amino acids and then recombines them into human protein.

During this process, there are amino acids that cannot be utilized. The body has to break them down even further, and this process produces toxins that the kidneys and skin will have to eliminate. The more amino acids that cannot be used by the system, the lower the coefficient of utilization and the less value the proteins of the food are considered to have.

Knowledge of the utilization coefficient of different proteins is of extreme importance when it comes to supplying a patient with optimum nutrition or to reducing the quantity of protein wastes to be eliminated. Waste reduction is especially important in kidney diseases.

It so happens that the utilization coefficient of whey’s proteins is quite high, much higher than that of milk, eggs, or meat. Recent studies have shown that the overall composition of amino acids in whey is identical to that of human blood.

MINERALS

Whey is a food that is especially rich in mineral salts. They amount to 5 percent of its total weight. The principal minerals found in whey will be discussed in this section.

Potassium

Whey is extremely rich in potassium. Potassium plays an essential role in the processes of assimilation and catabolism on the cellular level, in the transmission of nerve impulses, and in muscular contractions (if there is a potassium deficiency, cramps occur).

Furthermore, it is an activator of numerous enzymes. Potassium is also a foe of sodium (salt), which means that the more potassium there is in the tissues the greater the amount of sodium is driven out of the body, and with it the water it retains. Each gram of salt retains 11 grams of water.

By driving out the excess sodium, potassium triggers a powerful diuretic effect. In the case of a potassium deficiency, more sodium collects in the tissues and with it excess fluid causing edema (an abnormal accumulation of fluid). The high amount of potassium in whey provides the foundation for its principal healing virtues: its diuretic action and its ability to eliminate toxins.

Calcium

Whey is a valuable source of calcium, which is an indispensable mineral for building and maintaining strong, healthy bones and teeth and is necessary for the transmission of nerve impulses.

Calcium is especially recommended for children and those who are pregnant or nursing because the system’s need for calcium is much greater at these time. Calcium deficiency can lead to diseases such as osteoporosis, hypersensitive nerves, insomnia, and rickets.

Magnesium

Whey also contains magnesium, which has important functions in the nervous system, where it simultaneously strengthens and relaxes, and in the immune system, whose defensive capacities it reinforces. In addition to its antiviral action, magnesium lowers blood cholesterol and inhibits sclerosis in the blood vessels, both of which benefit the entire cardiovascular system by helping the heart perform its duties.

Phosphorus

Phosphorus is a very useful substance for the nervous system and for brain functions. A deficiency in phosphorus will cause mental fatigue, reducing the brain’s ability to concentrate and remember. Phosphorus, which is present in whey, is therefore highly recommended in cases of memory loss.

Sodium

Whey is known for having very low sodium. This is particularly important because excess salt in the tissues will retain water, and with this water, toxins, which can cause high blood pressure, tire the heart and overwork the kidneys, which are responsible for eliminating salt from the body. The fact that whey is rich in potassium, the enemy of salt, and at the same time contains very little sodium itself, reinforces the beneficial aspects of its low-sodium nature.

VITAMINS

In addition to the minerals we just examined, whey also contains vitamins, though in somewhat lesser quantities. Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, C, D, and E are present in whey. Of these, it possesses the greatest quantity of B2, or riboflavin.

A deficiency of vitamin B2 will lead to an exaggerated sensitivity of the eyes to light (as does a vitamin A deficiency), a tendency to tearing, red eyes, red blotches on the face, oily and puffy skin, and cracks at the edges of the lips.

The Nutritive Value of Whey

  • Rich in lactose
  • Contains no fat and is therefore low in calories
  • Contains proteins of high biological value
    Rich in minerals (especially
  • potassium)
  • Good source of vitamin B2

Continue to chapter IV